Learn to outsource your job and make more time for this
The outsourcing revolution
Entrepreneurs regularly outsource to save time, access specialised expertise and get work done. In the last decade as access to the internet and data-speeds have improved, particularly in developing countries, an entirely new freelance workforce has emerged online.
Many skilled freelancers are based in lower-cost countries such as the Philippines, India or Pakistan, and can be hired for significantly less than local talent. Fuelled-by, or perhaps fuelling this phenomenon, freelancer marketplaces have exploded in popularity, stimulating a rush of new talent into the global marketplace.
These trends now make it possible for employees to outsource aspects of their jobs to relieve stress and win back time for things they’d rather be doing.
Where to find freelance talent
Virtual marketplaces such as Fiverr.com, UpWork.com and others provide online platforms where freelancers can advertise their services plus examples of their work, their rates and related information. Buyers can search for freelancers by a range of categories or keywords, save profiles of promising contractors and then interact with them by messaging service.
Buyers can post jobs and invite applications from qualified freelancers and when a job is agreed by both parties, these platforms even manage the contract, billing, payment and receipt aspects of the relationship. All of these features make it easy to find, engage, manage and pay for freelance talent, not just for business owners, but for employees themselves.
You can access freelancers like this graphic designer using marketplaces such as UpWork.com
What kind of talent is available?
If you’re thinking freelancing is only good for building a mobile app or procuring some cheap copywriting, then you might be surprised and the sheer range of talent available.
UpWork.com, which describes itself as ‘the world’s leading freelancing website’ claims that “annually, freelancers are earning more than $1 billion via the site each year and providing companies with over 3,500 skills.”
Need an academic paper written? What about a bookkeeper? Perhaps you need an interior design for a new rental property you’re considering buying? Or how about a webpage translated into Chinese? All these are available, and more, often at very low prices.
Can I outsource my job to freelancers?
If you are an employee looking to outsource aspects of your role, the nature of the work you do will determine what aspects can and cannot be outsourced. Most jobs have a range of common elements that may be outsourced cheaply and effectively.
Outsourcing your general administration can save you hours of unproductive time. Managing emails, scheduling meetings, formatting documents, preparing Powerpoint presentations, filing, managing your digital documents and countless other time-consuming yet necessary tasks can be outsourced effectively to a virtual administrative assistant.
Caption: Feeling frustrated at work? Outsource the admin and get your life back
What does it cost?
For as little as $200 per week, you could employ a full-time administrative assistant. That means that for around $10,000 a year, you could have a full-time person working for you, available by phone or email or instant-messaging application, ready to work at a moment’s notice.
Depending on your personal financial situation, it may also be possible to claim the expense as a tax deduction related to your employment. As a result, the real cost of engaging the freelancer may be far less.
If you’d like to outsource but don’t have the money available, there are plenty of ways to find the cash you’ll need at short notice.
Is it legal?
Your employment agreement and the terms and conditions of your employer may or may not prohibit you from outsourcing work without their express approval. Factors like confidentiality deserve careful consideration. As a rule, don’t go outsourcing your entire job like this person did.
Consider also what other aspects of your life admin you could outsource to free up to time you’d rather be spending on more important things.
Should I tell my boss?
Aside from the ethical and moral issues, there’s a good reason you should consider sharing your plan with your boss. If you can make a convincing business case for it, such as the amount of time you could spend acquiring new clients, then your boss may consider reimbursing you for the expense.
What else should I consider?
Managing freelancers to deliver work is a skill, meaning it takes time to learn and perfect. Start by outsourcing small tasks and practice the act of working with a third-party to get back the results you expect. It can take time to develop an efficient and productive working relationship. Don’t put yourself at risk by outsourcing critical work without having a backup plan in place (which may simply be you doing the work yourself).
Jump online and check out a freelancer marketplace for yourself. Start small and learn how to take advantage of the wonderful world of freelance available to you.